It seemed like a very simple assignment at first. A fifth-grade classroom in Plattsburgh, New York was asked by their teacher to write a poem about themselves. It was national poetry month and she wanted to see what her students could do. As it turns out, there was one insightful student who had something poetic to say.
His name is Benjamin Giroux, a 10-year-old boy with a form of autism known as Asperger syndrome. He wanted to write his own poem but in the end, it was a viral message that helped many people with autism around the world.
This is Benjamin, a 10-year-old boy from Plattsburgh, New York.
His teacher asked his class to write a poem about themselves. What Benjamin wrote was an emotional letter about his life and how he feels ‘odd’ because of his autism.
The poem reads:
I am odd, I am new, I wonder if you are too,” Benjamin began, as he set out to try to express what it’s like to live with autism.
I hear voices in the air
I see you don’t, and that’s not fair
I want to not feel blue
I am odd, I am new
I pretend that you are too
I feel like a boy in outer space
I touch the stars and feel out of place
I worry what others might think
I cry when people laugh, it makes me shrink
I am odd, I am new
I understand now that so are you
I say I, “feel like a castaway”
I dream of a day that that’s okay
I try to fit in
I hope that someday I do
I am odd, I am new.
When his parents read the poem they were touched.
“At first, we felt sad and hurt that he feels isolated, alone, misunderstood and odd at school,” Benjamin’s dad Sonny told Today.com.
“As the poem went on, we realized that he understands that he’s odd and that so is everyone else in their own way, which is what Ben wants everyone to embrace.”
His father shared the poem on Facebook in hopes of getting some supportive comments. He wanted to show his son just how inspiring this poem was.
Before long, the National Autism Association shared the poem on their official Facebook page.
A mother writes, "My 10 year old son with Aspergers was asked to write a poem for school titled 'I Am' he was given the…Posted by National Autism Association on Sunday, April 10, 2016
The poem has been shared some 40,000 times and now contains the hashtag, #oddtoo
The poem has been used in words and inspired songs, books and even tattoo designs.
People loved how he gave such insight into life with autism.
His father said he hasn’t been writing as much lately but he does enjoy playing music and drawing.